From Middle English of, from Old English of (“of, from”), an unstressed form of af, æf (“from, off, away”), from Proto-Germanic *ab (“away; away from”). Doublet of off, which is the stressed descendant of the same Old English word. More at off.
- Expressing distance or motion.
- (now obsolete or dialectal) From (of distance, direction), "off". [from the 9th c.]
- (obsolete except in phrases) Since, from (a given time, earlier state etc.). [from the 9th c.]
- From, away from (a position, number, distance etc.). [from the 10th c.]
- (Canada, US, Scotland, Ireland) Before (the hour); to. [from the 19th c.]
- Expressing separation.
- Indicating removal, absence or separation, with the action indicated by a transitive verb and the quality or substance by a grammatical object. [from 10th c.]
- Indicating removal, absence or separation, with resulting state indicated by an adjective. [from 10th c.]
- (obsolete) Indicating removal, absence or separation, construed with an intransitive verb. [14th-19th c.]
- Expressing origin.
- Indicating an ancestral source or origin of descent. [from 9th c.]
- Introducing an epithet that indicates a birthplace, residence, dominion, or other place associated with the individual.
- Indicating a (non-physical) source of action or emotion; introducing a cause, instigation; from, out of, as an expression of. [from 9th c.]
- (following an intransitive verb) Indicates the source or cause of the verb. [from 10th c.]
- (following an adjective) Indicates the subject or cause of the adjective. [from 13th c.]
- Expressing agency.
- (following a passive verb) Indicates the agent (for most verbs, now usually expressed with by). [from 9th c.]
- Used to introduce the "subjective genitive"; following a noun to form the head of a postmodifying noun phrase (see also 'Possession' senses below). [from 13th c.]
- (following an adjective) Used to indicate the agent of something described by the adjective. [from 16th c.]
- Expressing composition, substance.
- (after a verb expressing construction, making etc.) Used to indicate the material or substance used. [from 9th c.]
- (directly following a noun) Used to indicate the material of the just-mentioned object. [from the 10th c.]
- Indicating the composition of a given collective or quantitative noun. [from 12th c.]
- Used to link a given class of things with a specific example of that class. [from 12th c.]
- Links two nouns in near-apposition, with the first qualifying the second; "which is also". [from 14th c.]
- Introducing subject matter.
- Links an intransitive verb, or a transitive verb and its subject (especially verbs to do with thinking, feeling, expressing etc.), with its subject-matter; concerning, with regard to. [from 10th c.]
- (following a noun (now chiefly nouns of knowledge, communication etc.)) Introduces its subject matter; about, concerning. [from 12th c.]
- (following an adjective) Introduces its subject matter. [from 15th c.]
- Having partitive effect.
- (following a number or other quantitive word) Introduces the whole for which is indicated only the specified part or segment; "from among". [from 9th c.]
- (following a noun) Indicates a given part. [from 9th c.]
- (now archaic, literary, with preceding partitive word assumed, or as a predicate after to be) Some, an amount of, one of. [from 9th c.]
- Links to a genitive noun or possessive pronoun, with partitive effect (though now often merged with possessive senses, below). [from 13th c.]
- Expressing possession.
- Belonging to, existing in, or taking place in a given location, place or time. Compare "origin" senses, above. [from 9th c.]
- Belonging to (a place) through having title, ownership or control over it. [from 9th c.]
- Belonging to (someone or something) as something they possess or have as a characteristic; the "possessive genitive". (With abstract nouns, this intersects with the subjective genitive, above under "agency" senses.) [from 13th c.]
- Forming the "objective genitive".
- Follows an agent noun, verbal noun or noun of action. [from 12th c.]
- Expressing qualities or characteristics.
- (now archaic or literary) Links an adjective with a noun or noun phrase to form a quasi-adverbial qualifier; in respect to, as regards. [from 13th c.]
- Indicates a quality or characteristic; "characterized by". [from 13th c.]
- Indicates quantity, age, price, etc. [from 13th c.]
- (US, informal, considered incorrect by some) Used to link singular indefinite nouns (preceded by the indefinite article) and attributive adjectives modified by certain common adverbs of degree.
- Expressing a point in time.
- (chiefly regional) During the course of (a set period of time, day of the week etc.), now specifically with implied repetition or regularity. [from 9th c.]
- (Britain dialectal, chiefly in negative constructions) For (a given length of time). [from 13th c.]
- (after a noun) Indicates duration of a state, activity etc. [from 18th c.]
A spelling of /əv/ influenced by Etymology 1.
- (usually in modal perfect constructions) Eye dialect spelling of have or ’ve, chiefly in depictions of colloquial speech.
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